City Council President and aide named in sexual harassment lawsuit

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A sexual harassment case at City Hall is taking a new twist tonight. Now, the woman who claims she was groped is suing! City Council President Kathy Graziano and her assistant are named in the lawsuit.

The seven-page lawsuit claims that Graziano's assistant sexually harassed another council member's assistant who's young enough to be his daughter. The alleged victim is seeking damages for emotional distress and other physiological symptoms--money that could come out of taxpayers' pockets. The court document outlines it all.

A lawsuit filed Friday tells the story of an alleged sexual harassment incident between Richmond City Council member's assistants while at work. The alleged victim, Jennifer Walle works for Councilman Bruce Tyler. He spoke with us Friday about the situation.

"I would like for this matter to be out in the public in terms of the truth," said Tyler. "I think it's unfortunate this lawsuit is had to have been filed and I'm sorry Miss Walle has had to go through all these issues."

"What is the truth? What really happened?" asked NBC 12's Evrod Cassimy.

"I can't say what the truth is because I only have pieces and parts," answered Tyler.

But those parts are spelled out in a lawsuit. It alleges that back on April 21st of last year City Council President Kathy Graziano's aide, David Hathcock "…harmfully and offensively touched Walle on the buttocks after pulling her onto a chair and on top of him." The lawsuit further alleges that Hathcock told Walle "…I just want you for your body."

The lawsuit mentions that Council President Graziano was made aware of the incident. It claims she told the victim "…she could either quit or deal with it."

Tyler admits dealing with it himself the past ten months has been difficult.

"There have been days to be honest with you where you know you look up and say 'Give me a little help here,'" said Tyler.

We tried to reach President Graziano, her assistant and the alleged victim in this lawsuit. Neither of them returned phone calls or e-mails Friday. The lawsuit asks that Walle receive $200,000 in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against each defendant. Tyler tells NBC12 that the money would come from taxpayers

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